Discover New Sights, Sounds, Eats and Reads at the National Library Building

Everyone can start to enjoy some programmes and services from the new Central Arts Library, and look forward to a revamped Central Public Library, along with refreshed F&B options at the Plaza.

Singapore, 6 September 2023 – New sights, sounds, eats, and reads are coming to the National Library (NL) Building located in the heart of the Civic District. These will create more buzz in and around the NL Building, with the start of performing arts programmes and services from the new Central Arts Library, the reopening of Central Public Library in January 2024 following a revamp, as well as more food & beverage (F&B) options at the Plaza. 

The National Library Board’s (NLB) Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ng Cher Pong, said: “We invite patrons to make the National Library Building a destination to discover new ways to read and learn, with our many exciting programmes and services coming up, starting this month. We are also creating more spaces within the building for patrons to connect and collaborate over coffee and conversations! We welcome more like-minded partners and volunteers to join us in creating a vibrant Learning Marketplace for people to makes new discoveries through reading and learning.”

1. Central Arts Library 

From this month, the Central Arts Library will start to offer some of the popular performing arts collections, and the programmes previously offered at the library@esplanade which closed in June 2023. Patrons can access the collection through NLB’s online catalogue and join in the programmes at various spaces within the NL Building. The Central Arts Library’s physical spaces are expected to be ready in 2024. In the meantime, patrons can look forward to the following:

a. Arts Programmes

From today onwards, NLB will host a series of programmes at the NL Building for patrons to create, learn, and discover more about the arts. These programmes include monthly movie screenings of picks from NLB’s performing arts film collection; Open Stage Originals where local singers, songwriters, musicians, filmmakers, playwrights, and choreographers will have the opportunity to showcase and promote their original works; jazz appreciation lectures; recitals; and performing arts workshops. More information on the upcoming programmes from now to January 2024 can be found in Annex A.

b. Heritage Piano

To kickstart the programmes lined up for the rest of the year, NLB will be unveiling a Heritage Piano – a 1952 Chappell Grand that has been painstakingly repaired and tuned — for public use from September 2023. The piano will make its debut at the lobby of NL Building with a live piano recital by LASALLE School of Contemporary alumna, Ms Eugena Kwong, and a talk by National University of Singapore Emeritus Professor Bernard Tan on the history of this piano. Members of the public will be able to play the piano at the NL Building Level 1 from September onwards. More information the piano and Emeritus Professor Tan can be found in Annex B.

c. Reservation of DVDs and Blu-Rays Collection

From 15 September 2023, the collection of DVDs and Blu-Rays from library@esplanade will also be made available for reservation. Patrons can reserve the items via NLB’s online catalogue, up to 16 items at one go and for a loan period of 21 days.  Music scores will also be made available for for reservation in the coming months, with more details to be announced in Q1 of next year. 

Reservation of collection materials can be made via NLB’s myLibrary account using the online catalogue, NLB Mobile app or the catalogue stations for a fee of $1.57 (inclusive of GST) per item. Patrons will be able to select the pickup location at the point of reservation.

2. Central Public Library 

The Central Public Library closed in June 2022 for revamp and is slated to reopen in January 2024. The revamped library will feature upgraded adults and children’s sections, as well as new programme spaces for patrons of all ages to enjoy. 

NLB welcomes individuals, families and schools to volunteer at the revamped Central Public Library. Closer to the reopening, NLB will host several sessions to share more about the various volunteering opportunities at the library. Interested parties may register their interest at

3. F&B Options 

Patrons to the NL Building can look forward to more F&B options starting this September. In addition to a café currently in Level 3 of the building, the Plaza will see two other F&B outlets in the coming months, including one that is Halal-certified.

More details on the Central Arts Library, Central Public Library, and F&B options at the NL Building will be shared when ready. Patrons may look out for updates on the NLB website and NLB’s social media channels (Facebook, Instagram).


About the National Library Board

The National Library Board (NLB) nurtures Readers for Life, Learning Communities and a Knowledgeable Nation by promoting reading, learning and history through its network of 28 libraries, the National Library and the National Archives of Singapore. NLB also forges strategic partnerships that encourage awareness, appreciation and greater discovery of Singapore's history through its rich collections in Singapore and the region.

NLB achieves excellence through innovation, focusing on citizen engagement and co-creation, resource and digital innovation. This creates learning opportunities, greater access to library resources, services, and archival collections, as well as a continual development of innovative library spaces. Established on 1 September 1995 as a statutory board, NLB is under the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI).

For more information, please visit the NLB website, and NLB’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube channels.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Eric Seow
Weber Shandwick 
Tel: +65 9231 3834

Quah Jia Ling
Weber Shandwick
Tel: +65 9699 0830

Annex A

Public Arts Programmes at the National Library Building (August-January 2024)





Remembering our Folk Songs and Roots Music by Resonance of Singapore Singers

 16 Sept, Sat 

The ROS Singers is Singapore's homegrown professional a cappella ensemble that helms the non-profit organisation Resonance of Singapore Ltd. (ROS).

This September, ROS celebrates our cultural roots and traditions, through folk songs such as Rasa Sayang, Muolihua 茉莉花, and freshly commissioned arrangements of Gelang Si Paku, Peribahasa and Singapura


Jazz for Curious Listeners

 September 2023 to January 2024

Jazz and music improvisation performance-lecture series held monthly at the NL Building Lobby, with the aim of educating the public on jazz appreciation and techniques of music improvisation. 

Open Stage Originals

 October to December 2023

A monthly open call opportunity and platform for local singer songwriters, musicians, filmmakers, playwrights and choreographers to showcase and promote their original works.

Monthly Movie Screenings

 September to December 2023

Monthly movie picks from the performing arts film collection by Central Arts Library staff, held at the Imagination Room on Level 5 of the NL Building.

Young Musicians Festival

 September and December 2023

Young music students of private music teachers and schools take to the Open Stage at the NL Building Lobby, for recitals open to members of the public in this school holiday showcase of talents. This event aims to provide a performance platform for children to develop and hone their craft in front of a live audience.

The Performer’s Body Series

 October to November 2023

A series of monthly workshops focusing on developing and nurturing the performer’s body, held at the Imagination Room on Level 5 of the NL Building.

Kids Fest x Asian Children Literature

 November to December 2023

Kids Fest is an annual line-up of programmes where children and families get to participate in workshops to explore and learn about the performing arts. This year’s edition will be held at the National Library Building and will feature stories from National Library’s Asian Children’s Literature collection. Look out for more details to be shared on NLB’s LearnXArts Facebook page

Annex B

Details on Heritage Piano and Emeritus Professor Bernard T.G. Tan

A full-sized concert grand made by the English piano manufacturer Chappell, this stately 71-year-old instrument was formerly the principal concert grand at the Victoria Memorial Hall (now Victoria Concert Hall) where famous pianists like Claudio Arrau and Julius Katchen once performed. Find out more about the Chappell grand piano in this quarter’s (Oct to Dec 2023) issue of BibloAsia here: A Grand Piano’s Chequered History (

 Zhivko Girginov, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Musical Pedagogy and Piano Performance at the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, carrying out repair and reconditioning works on the Chappell at the National Library Building, 2023. [Photo credit: National Library Board]
Zhivko Girginov, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Musical Pedagogy and Piano Performance at the Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, carrying out repair and reconditioning works on the Chappell at the National Library Building, 2023. [Photo credit: National Library Board]

Bernard Tan Tiong Gie is an Emeritus Professor of Physics at the National University of Singapore, and a classical music composer and musician who was involved in the founding of the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the conception of the Esplanade and the establishment of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, among many other music projects. Several of his works have been performed by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.